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Where have you gone, John Dean? Among other things, the ex-White House counsel who was embroiled decades ago in the Watergate scandal is now a regular columnist for an interesting legal commentary site, http://writ.news.findlaw.com. Dean works as a writer, lecturer, and private investment banker in Beverly Hills and is working on a book on “bogus Watergate revisionism,” according to his biography on the site. (Dean has already spent considerable time trying to debunk theories put forth by G. Gordon Liddy that Dean’s wife, Maureen, was connected to a call-girl ring that sparked the famous break-in. So why not put it in between the covers of a book?) The column itself, though, is sober and lawyerly, in the spirit of the presidential counsel that Dean once was. Solicitors general should be nonpolitical, Dean argues. The Bush administration was wrong to deal the American Bar Association out of judicial selection. Conservative Christopher Cox should have gotten a fair shot to be a 9th Circuit appellate judge. And so on. You almost hope Dean will launch into a no-holds-barred attack on Liddy — or into some offbeat tale from the Nixon years. Other columnists on the site are an interesting assortment. One is NYU law professor Marci Hamilton, whom I recall as an intellectual property specialist, but who here also delves into matters like Bush v. Goreand the judicial philosophy of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, for whom Hamilton clerked. The view that O’Connor vacillates on the issues until she can find a neutral, centrist position, Hamilton writes, is “a ridiculous — and in my view, a sexist — reading of [O'Connor's] jurisprudence.” We also find Edward Lazarus, author of “Closed Chambers,” the controversial book about the Supreme Court. Here Lazarus expounds a novel and fascinating theory about what Jim Jeffords, Harry Blackmun, and David Souter have in common — and, in another column, argues for term limits for Supreme Court justices.

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